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in the Scots law of contract, the right for A not to pay money due to B under a contract until damages due by B to A under the same contract are ascertained. Thus, a claim for freight may be opposed by a claim for damage done to the goods in transit. In bankruptcy or liquidation, a party who is facing an illiquid claim may retain in respect of an illiquid sum owed to him by the bankrupt and it is not necessary that the debts should arise out of the same contract.

In the law of Sale of Goods 1979, where the property in goods has not passed to the buyer, the unpaid seller has a right to withhold delivery similar to and co-extensive with his rights of lien or retention and stoppage in transit where the property has passed to the buyer.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

RETENTION, Scottish law. The right which the possessor of a movable has, of holding the same until he shall be satisfied for his claim either against such movable or the owner of it; a lien.
     2. The right of retention is of two kinds, namely, special or general. 1. Special retention is the right of withholding or retaining property of goods which are in one's possession under a contract, till indemnified for the labor or money expended on them. 2. General retention is the right to withhold or detain the property of another, in respect of any debt which happens to be due by the proprietor to the person who has the custody; or for a general balance of accounts arising on a particular train of employment. 2 Bell's Com. 90, 91, 5th ed. Vide Lien.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
These broke treatment concepts grew out of existing retention aid polymers and continue to be used effectively today.
Concerns have been expressed about the abuse and misuse of retentions, which can have a huge impact on smaller construction firms in particular, but despite numerous attempts by the UK government to look at this issue, no action has materialised.
'The Sixth Team's retentions include star Pakistani all-rounder Shoaib Malik in Platinum and left-arm pacer Mohammad Irfan in Diamond as Player Ambassador',he said,adding,'Lahore Qalandars,who have the first pick at this season's Draft, retained opening batsman Fakhar Zaman as their only Platinum player while leg-spinner Yasir Shah was retained in Diamond'.
Medical device firms managing risks by setting appropriate retention levels may find some are too high, some are too low and some are just right.
Setting the fight retention level can be challenging, though.
Five different per-occurrence retentions will be considered: $100,000; $250,000; $500,000; $1 million and $2 million.
No one size fits all and no pat answers abound, but here are some questions to ponder as the risk manager tries to set the right retention levels:
The experts interviewed for this article cited several examples of performance chemical use that help improve machine efficiency, promote consistent retention and drainage, increase machine speed, and lower energy consumption.
Where risk managers get into trouble with retentions is by trying to be too "scientific" with the decision.
The district's decision to hire teachers for summer school--part of the retention plan--outside of union hiring rules created another furor.
For almost 50 years, research has shown that grade-level retention provides no academic advantages to students.
Viewing retention as an investment decision may mean you'll have to move your risk retentions up and down more frequently, based on your claim results and the cost of risk transfer.